Theravada monk blogs about Buddhist philosophy and other random things.
I thought it was pretty nice of George Bush to sit down with the Dalai Lama. He easily could have denied him the opportunity to visit to entertain the whims of the Chinese government but he didn't. It shows a different side to Bush that I didn't know was there. The thing is, if you put your self in W.'s shoes you don't really know how you would handle that job. It's real easy to point fingers about how evil he is and whatever but the pressures he has from big companies and other powers that be can be a cause for a lot of unskillful actions if one is not totally secure in the precepts. I'm sure he doesn't sleep easy at night knowing some of the things he has done, however, maybe the Dalai Lama put him at ease. The thing that's so nice about the Buddha's teachings is it's always about what one is doing right now in this moment to create suffering or not to create it. Thanissaro Bhikkhu gave a talk recently about that, where he made the statement, "not what you are, what you do." When seen from that perspective even people like the dictators in China and Burma and the president of the United States can make the choice moment by moment to start taking apart suffering and it's causes. There might be heaps of unskillful karma in the past but the only way to clean it up is to start somewhere.
"I thought it was pretty nice of George Bush to sit down with the Dalai Lama."Actually, the Dalai Lama seems to have taken great care to preserve good relations with neo-conservative governments in North America---governments bent on waging war all over the globe. If I'm wrong then I stand to be corrected. But I think he has studiously avoided any direct criticism of the Bush administration. Glenn Fitzgerald
Well, I should also say, that if Buddhists are looking for a religious leader to serve as an example of opposition to President Bush's war-mongering regime, I would look to the Catholic Pope. The Pope has frequently expressed his direct opposition to the American government's war agenda. And the Pope has taken grave risks in placing the church against American power. Glenn Fitzgerald.
As a monk it really isn't his duty to be critical anyway, although he seems to be pretty open about wanting autonomy for Tibet which is a pretty political statement as far as China is concerned. Ajahn Jayasaro gave a talk once that touched on the reasons monks stay out of politics. The main reason was that monks are to serve as a refuge for all beings regardless of political persuasion. If monks like the Dalai Lama start taking sides with certain political parties or leaders then he will go out and alienate certain people when a samana is to be a refuge to all beings, even to someone who has certainly made a lot of mistakes like George W. Bush. The Dalai Lama has a unique position as head of state for Tibet as well as a monk. My personal views don't agree with a monk being a politician but that's just the way it is. Glenn, you are probably correct in that he hasn't said anything disparaging towards the Bush administration. The whole issue with politics is that it usually always runs counter to the dhamma and the precepts. Even if the Dems win here in the states next year they will probably still be in Iraq and run on platforms that include pro-choice for abortion. War and abortion are not the place for folks who are taking the precepts seriously. You're right, the Pope has been pretty vocal in many respects. He seems like he's a pretty strong willed and no nonsense kind of guy. In some ways one wonders how could the Pope or any Christian ever support the war anyway, as there is a commandment against killing. That's where one can see the hypocrisy of leaders who say they are Christian yet support wars and violence. Jesus would probably never have stood for that. Recently there was a talk by Ajahn Amaro about Forgiveness, and he made the point that of all the teachings of Jesus the one that seems to get thrown out the most is the one about turning the other cheek. Well, to all who read this, take care and good luck in your practice. May you all be well.
I think the Dalai Lama and President bush both made a nice statement with this honor. But I wish Bush had dangled it in front of the Chinese before awarding it, saying, "How about you get the generals out of Burma, and we tell His Holiness we had to cancel the medal for a very happiness-producing reason?" China would had to have made a choice there.BTW, I love how His Holiness and other Tibetans have basically said the Chinese government can go fly a kite when it comes to the whole verifying reincarnations and such. I think Tibetan Buddhism is very silly in many of its aspects, but this struck me as brave, strong, and extremely satisfying.
"The Dalai Lama has a unique position as head of state for Tibet as well as a monk."It probably wouldn't hurt, and wouldn't constitute "wrong speech," if the Dalai Lama were to tell Bush directly that he has taken his nation on a self-destructive path. I'm not the Dalai Lama, but if I were, my first reaction to Bush would be to silently hold my bowl upside down. However, I also realize that such honesty might negatively impact on the Dalai Lama's political agenda regarding Tibet. But I'm likely the wrong person to look to for objective and detached perspective when it comes to the subject of the Dalai Lama or Tibetan Buddhism. In this life, or even perhaps the previous, I suspect that my general character has strongly opposed the violence of authority impose the human will on another--even the kind of violence that might have had the monks of a theocracy drag children from a mother's arms to take their places at the mountain temple. Glenn Fitzgerald.
Glenn you make a very interesting point on the issue of speech what the Dalai Lama could have said to Bush. I guess we will really never know what was said behind closed doors, and even if he did say something to Bush about leading the States down a destructive path he's more than likely not to listen anyway. Be well in your practice.
"Glenn you make a very interesting point on the issue of speech what the Dalai Lama could have said to Bush."These things need to be said publicly. Religious and political leaders cannot be seen to hide their challenges to policy-makers behind closed meetings. Moreover, it takes no moral courage to privately tell a leader that his policies are wrong. That is because privately made challenges carry no risky consequences for war-mongering dictators or their detractors. Anyway, I better stop right here before I blunder into wrong speech violations. Glenn Fitzgerald
Glenn- You're right, it does take no moral courage to say something in private. The problem is that there's not a lot of moral courage in politicians as far as I can see. Has there ever been much honesty in politics? Remember that all beings are the owners of their actions and that they will be the heir to them as well.
So here's a million dollar question. Is the Dalai Lama more politician or more the hereditory inheritor of the holy-man title? I better stop, while the going is good. LOL. I have habit of asking the very worst questions. To all those Tibetan Buddhists, my question intends no offense.Glenn Fitzgerald.
01The reason the Buddha wasn't very interested in politics and cautioned his monks to stay away from them was for good reasons. One cannot be a refuge and an example to all beings when viewed as having a political agenda. The Dalai Lama is in between a rock and a hard place because he somehow has to play the part of both politician and monk which in my opinion are completely at odds with each other. I'm not really qualified to comment on where his heart or intentions are by I sure wouldn't want to be in his position.
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